With the inflow into the Mettur reservoir increasing gradually following the release of water into the Cauvery from Kabini Dam in Karnataka, drinking water managers here are hoping for release of some quantum of water from Mettur Dam over the next 10 to 15 days to recharge the city’s water sources.
Tiruchi city and some neighbouring districts depend heavily on the Cauvery to meet their drinking water requirements. With the Cauvery remaining dry for the last six months, the yield from almost all water pumping stations on the river has gone down drastically.
The combined yield from the four main pumping stations of the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation from the Cauvery has slumped to 12 million litres a day (MLD) as against the 80 to 85 MLD normally. The sharp fall in the yield has put the water managers of the city under heavy pressure.
The new drinking water supply augmentation scheme with its source at the Coleroon river, has proved to be the saviour for the water managers this summer. The corporation has been pumping water from all the three collector wells of the new water supply augmentation scheme over the past one month even through the project is yet to be fully commissioned.
The Rs. 221.42-crore new drinking water augmentation scheme is being executed with financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency. The civic body is tapping about 40 to 44 MLD of water from the three collector wells on the Coleroon. This has helped avert a major crisis as the supply level to the city is being maintained at around 60 MLD.
The sharp fall in the yield from the Cauvery forced the corporation to resort to alternate days supply to residents served by the Woraiyur, Marakkadai, and Virugupettai overhead water tanks in nearly a dozen wards in the city since May-end. Even after this move, several parts of Woraiyur, airport, and other parts of the city are facing severe scarcity of drinking water supply.
Although daily water supply is provided to other parts of the city, the duration of the supply, and the quantum, has been drastically reduced. These areas get water supply for 30 to 60 minutes depending on their location.
Given the continuous dry spell, civic officials are hoping for release of some water in the river over the next 10 to 15 days to provide a wetting to the drinking water sources. The release of limited quantum of water in Amaravathy and the surplus from Pillur Dam raised some hopes here on Wednesday.
But the Public Works Department officials say this would not reach the Cauvery river in Tiruchi district. Farmers’ organisations have been demanding that at least 2,000 cusecs of water be released from Mettur Dam to meet the drinking water requirements.
Much would depend on the inflow from Karnataka into the reservoir over the next few days. But a decision on releasing water for drinking water purposes would have to be taken by the government, say PWD officials.